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Chen Kaige appointed president of Sydney Film Festival competition jury
[Thu 05/05/2011 12:04:55]
Press release from Sydney Film Festival
One of China's most prominent and influential directors, Chen Kaige has been appointed President of the 2011 Official Competition Jury. He will preside over the $60,000 Sydney Film Prize, Australia’s richest cash award for film.
Amongst Chen’s numerous career achievements is the much-loved dramatic feature Farewell My Concubine which became the first Chinese film to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for two Academy Awards®.
Chen will also present the Australian Premiere of his latest film Sacrifice on 15 June 2011.
“The ultimate pleasure of going to film festivals can be found in the opportunities they provide to watch new movies that stimulate our thinking and pondering,” said Chen. “Film festivals constantly transform the rules of filmmaking, expose us to new talent and present the ever changing horizon of world cinema.”
Chen Kaige was born in Beijing in 1952. The son of a film director, he worked as a rural labourer during the Cultural Revolution and served five years in the army before enrolling at the newly reopened Beijing Film Academy in 1978. His feature debut was Yellow Earth (1984), signalling him as a prominent member of the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers. In addition to his success with Farewell My Concubine (1993), he has won many other awards and accolades during his career. His other films include The Emperor and the Assassin (1998), Together (2002) and The Promise (2005). Chen has previously served on juries at the Berlin and Venice film festivals.
Chen is married to actor and producer Chen Hong who will also be attending as a guest of the festival in her role as producer of Sacrifice.
“We are delighted to welcome Chen Kaige as our 2011 Jury President. Renowned for his opulent visual style and epic storytelling, Chen is one of China’s leading filmmakers and a director of high international standing” said Clare Stewart, Festival Director. “His leadership brings more prominence and prestige to our event”.
Chen Kaige is the first international jury president of the Official Competition, now in its fourth year, following Australians producer Jan Chapman (2010) and directors Rolf de Heer (2009) and Gillian Armstrong (2008).
Three films in Official Competition have already been announced – Attenberg (Athina Rachel Tsangari), The Future (Miranda July), Norwegian Wood (Tran Anh Hung). The remaining nine films will be reveals at the SFF Program Launch on 11 May.
Twelve features are selected for Official Competition, SFF’s flagship program, on the basis that they demonstrate `emotional power and resonance; are audacious, cutting-edge, courageous; and go beyond the usual treatment of the subject matter’.
The jury, consisting of international and Australian filmmakers and industry professionals, awards a $60,000 prize, for ‘new directions in film’. The competition features nightly red-carpet gala screenings and will culminate in an awards presentation on Sunday 19 June, 2011.
The Official Competition was established in 2008 and is endorsed by Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films (the regulating organisation for international film festivals). Past winners of the Sydney Film Prize were Hunger, directed by Steve McQueen (2008), Bronson, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (2009) and Heartbeats, directed by Xavier Dolan (2010).
Sacrifice Zhao Shi Gu Er
China | 127 mins | In Mandarin with English subtitles
Director: Chen Kaige | Screenwriters: Chen Kaige, Gao Xuan, Ren Baoru, Zhao Ningyu; Producers: Chen Hong, Qin Hong | Cast: Ge You, Woang Xueqi, Huang Xiaoming | Rights: Arclight Films International
Assassinations, baby-swapping and vengeance; Chen Kaige adroitly combines the elements of classical melodrama with historical epic to produce a gripping, emotionally resonant film of great impact. Sinister army general Tu’an Gu (Wang Xueqi) plots the overthrow and decimation of the powerful Zhao clan. Cheng Ying (played by Cannes award-winning Chinese actor Ge You) is a humble doctor and new father assigned to the birth of the Zhao heir. When Tu’an Gu’s evil plans are put into action, Cheng Ying rescues the infant Zhao, triggering a chain of events that will ultimately lead to great personal sacrifice and a patiently hatched plan of revenge. Visually ravishing and featuring immaculate period design, the impressive scope and scale of the production are in grand contrast with the intricacies of the father-son dynamics at the heart of Sacrifice.
The 58th Sydney Film Festival runs from 8 – 19 June 2011. For further information visit http://www.sff.org.au